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Volume 3, No. 2 - Spring 2002
TABLE OF CONTENTS
This issue is dedicated to the memory of Don Lavoie, Robert Nozick, Jack Schwartzman, and George Walsh---all scholars who have written on Ayn Rand.
THE ACTUALITY OF AYN RAND, pp. 215-27
SLAVOJ ZIZEK argues that Rand's fascination for male figures displaying absolute, unswayable determination of their Will, seems to offer the best imaginable confirmation of Sylvia Plath's famous line, "every woman adores a Fascist." But the properly subversive dimension of Rand's ideological procedure is not to be underestimated: Rand fits into the line of 'overconformist' authors who undermine the ruling ideological edifice by their very excessive identification with it. Her over-orthodoxy was directed at capitalism itself; for Rand, the truly heretic thing today is to embrace the basic premise of capitalism without its sugar-coating.
THE TRICKSTER ICON AND OBJECTIVISM, pp. 229-58
JOSEPH MAURONE examines the Trickster---that mischievous character who challenges conventional boundaries and distinctions and who plays a crucial role in much of the world's mythology and folklore. Maurone rereads the fiction and life of Ayn Rand as an expression of the Trickster's quest to invert traditional mores. Using the insights of writers as diverse as Lewis Hyde, Carl Jung, Carl Kerenyi, and Percy Bysshe Shelley, Maurone examines Promethean and other Trickster archetypes in Rand's work. He views Rand herself as the real-life Trickster incarnate; her personal failings provide an opportunity for post-Randian thinkers to move Objectivism beyond its residual dogmatism.
IS BENEVOLENT EGOISM COHERENT?, 259-88
MICHAEL HUEMER argues that there is a tension between two principles putatively essential to Rand's ethics: the principle of egoism, which states that the only reason for doing (or not doing) anything is that it will serve (or frustrate) one's own interests; and the principle that one must not sacrifice others. Huemer considers several arguments that Rand offers for the second principle but finds that each involves either implausible empirical assumptions or assumptions that conflict with egoism. Huemer suggests that Rand may not be an egoist in the usual sense; her positions are much more consistent with the second principle.
GOALS, VALUES, AND THE IMPLICIT:
EXPLORATIONS IN PSYCHOLOGICAL ONTOLOGY, pp. 289-327
ROBERT L. CAMPBELL examines Ayn Rand's handling of the distinction between implicit and explicit knowledge. Using interactivist developmental psychology, he shows how human knowledge and goals develop through a hierarchy of knowing levels, and elaborates a significant differentiation between what is subconsciously known or believed and what is merely implied. He applies these distinctions to three problem areas in Rand's treatment of the implicit: the notion of a "pre-moral" choice to live, the peculiar status of implicit concepts, and Rand's ambivalence as to whether skills constitute knowledge.
A CONTEST OF WILLS, pp. 329-37
JONATHAN JACOBS reviews The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand, in which David Kelley responds to Objectivists who refuse to dialogue with libertarians, and examines the debate among Objectivists over the interpretation of Rand's thinking. Kelley argues that Rand presents crucial insights and claims and that these need to be developed and elaborated and not viewed as a fixed doctrine. Jacobs focuses on where Kelley situates himself among Objectivists, and raises critical concerns about the effectiveness with which Rand's philosophy is articulated and defended. He questions how effectively Objectivism enters into philosophical debates to which it claims to contribute.
HAVING YOUR SAY, pp. 339-47
STEPHEN COX assesses the newly published edition of Ayn Rand's 1969 lectures on nonfiction writing (The Art of Nonfiction). The lectures are an effective exposition of Rand's recommended authorial method, with strong emphasis on the author's use of the subconscious mind.
ON THE AYN RAND CLIFFSNOTES, p. 349
ANDREW BERNSTEIN replies to Kirsti Minsaas' review of his CliffsNotes to Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged (Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Fall 2001). He defends the literary and philosophical merit of the works.
LONG'S CONFLATION OF DIALECTICS AND ORGANICISM, pp. 351-57
ROGER E. BISSELL argues that, contrary to Roderick Long's claim (Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Spring 2001) that Chris Sciabarra has failed to sufficiently distance himself from internalism, Sciabarra has maintained a consistent position throughout his various works, and that Long has simply failed to read Sciabarra carefully enough. Drawing upon the works of Stephen C. Pepper, Bissell suggests that Long has fallen prey to the tendency to confuse methodological orientations with ontological or cosmological models of reality, and that his inaccurate characterization of dialectics is more accurately applied to strict organicism, the real opponent of Long's analytic Formism.
DIALECTICS: A RECONSTRUCTION, pp. 359-80
BRYAN REGISTER discusses Sciabarra's ontological commitments, the nature of the cognitive ideal for social science from a pluralistic libertarian point of view, and the proper realm of dialectical investigation. He responds to Long's incisive critique (in Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Spring 2001) of Sciabarra's notion of dialectic by analytic clarifying that notion so that it takes a form more acceptable to mainstream Anglo-American philosophers.
DIALECTICAL LIBERTARIANISM: ALL BENEFITS, NO HAZARDS, pp. 381-99
CHRIS MATTHEW SCIABARRA responds to Roderick Long's review (Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Spring 2001) of his Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism. Sciabarra argues that the dialectical stress upon context-keeping encompasses both analytic and synthetic activities. He defends his interpretations of Aristotle, Marx, Rothbard, and internal relations, and presents a radical dialectical libertarian alternative---a conception of freedom that is not merely political or economic but also psycho-epistemological, ethical, and cultural. [html version also available]
REJOINDER TO BISSELL, REGISTER, AND SCIABARRA:
KEEPING CONTEXT IN CONTEXT: THE LIMITS OF DIALECTICS, pp. 401-22
RODERICK T. LONG defends his criticisms (in "The Benefits and Hazards of Dialectical Libertarianism," Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Spring 2001) of Chris Sciabarra's theory of dialectics. Long argues, against Sciabarra and Roger Bissell, that embracing dialectics as a general methodology commits one to an internalist ontology; and he argues, against Bryan Register, that an internalist ontology is indefensible. Long concludes, however, that dialectics is still an indispensable methodological tool, so long as its scope is not exaggerated.
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